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Undergraduate Music 2017-2018

M1DIAG: MUSIC DIAGNOSTIC TEST 1 (MUSIC THEORY)

0 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

New students taking a music degree programme must take this Music Theory (M1DIAG) Diagnostic Test. On the basis of this test (M1DIAG) you will be allocated to the appropriate level 1 course - either MU1037: Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony or MU1038: Music, Theory and Harmony.

Please go to www.abdn.ac.uk/mycurriculum to access the diagnostic tests.

Having completed the test online you should select the appropriate course when making your curriculum choices.

MU1035: KEY MOMENTS 1

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works. 

MU1037: INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC THEORY AND HARMONY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course will begin with the fundamentals and quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts such as note names, clefs, octaves and note values. This will lead on to governing concepts of Western tonal music - primary triads, cadences, chord progressions and basic voice leading. The course will progress on to the beginnings of more complex harmony, counterpoint and stylistic study. At all times these fundamentals will be accompanied by contextual information - both historical and cultural - aiming to create an initial appraisal of musicology and its place in musical study. 

MU1038: MUSIC, THEORY AND HARMONY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course will assume a good, base understanding of the fundamentals of music theory and will quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts in Classical harmony such as modulation, secondary dominants and good four­part writing and voice leading. This will lead on to a strong understanding of Classical style with emphasis on piano textures and string quartet writing. The course will progress on to complex Romantic harmony and concepts such as Neapolitan Sixths, Continental Sixths and Diminished Sevenths as well as stylistic awareness of Romantic genres such as lieder.

MU1051: PERFORMANCE 1

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills.

 

Entry to the course for non BMus students is by audition.

 

MU1535: KEY MOMENTS 2

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.
The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

MU1537: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

This ten week course follows a similar teaching pattern to the Key Moments courses. Five topics are covered in detail, An initial fortnightly lecture introduces the topic and the first of two weekly seminars is a workshop on practical aspects of the topic. For the second seminar, the session is split into 4 where coursework is presented, critiqued and evaluated by the group, facilitated by members of staff/PGR students. There will be some non-formal analysis and wherever possible links through to the Key Moments 2 course will be explored. Topics will cover a variety of musical styles and genres.

MU1538: DIGITAL MUSICIANSHIP: MUSIC MAKING IN THE DIGITAL AGE

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

Course topics will include the theory and practice of digital audio, aural awareness, and social and cultural issues related to digital audio, with extensive tutorials on basic audio hardware and software focusing on helping students establish a skill set required for the duration of their study and beyond.

MU1551: PERFORMANCE 2

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

MU1551 is structured to develop in tandem students individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. 

Entry to the course by audition for non BMus students.

MU2023: INTRODUCTION TO MUSICOLOGY

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Students will explore a range of elementary issues in musicology relating to some of the following: music history, theory and analysis, sociology of music, psychology of music, aesthetics, ethnomusicology, world music, early music, opera, concert music, jazz, popular music, music in film and television, musical performance, composition, music technology and the economics of the music business.

The course will consider a range of music taking into account the kinds of methodologies and discourses in which this music is discussed.

MU2024: INTRODUCTION TO CONDUCTING

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

The course will be built around three areas of study:

- The history and development of Conducting
- Development of core conducting skills (gesture, vocabulary, score preparation, rehearsal planning and performance)  
- Development of knowledge and understanding of Conducting as a vocation (The business)

The course content will be delivered through workshops that will engage students in academic reading and writing, practical skill building and research skills.

MU2025: COMPOSITION 1

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course will go into more detail on some of the ideas put forward in Introduction to Contemporary Composition (a year one course), but not exclusively. It (and its sister course Composition 2) will introduce compositional skills that are of importance to contemporary composers. These will include such styles/techniques as: modality, 12 tone technique, iso-rhythm and minimalism. Students will learn these techniques and assimilate them very quickly, being assessed on two pieces of compositional work over the half-session. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will be factored into the assessment process.

MU2026: PERFORMANCE 3

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Instrumental/vocal study: students work on a one-to-one basis (10 x 1 hour lessons) with a specialist instrumental/vocal instructor and participate in workshops and master classes where appropriate. Students can elect to split their studies between two instruments and/or voice.

Ensemble: requires attendance at least one ensemble managed by the Music Department. 

As part of this course students are required to attend concerts from the Music Department Concert Series.

Students must have achieved a CGS award of C3 or higher in year 1 in order to be able to progress to this course in year 2.

 

MU2522: INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC AND COMMUNITIES

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Introduction to Music and Communities is designed to act as either a stand-alone option or as a pre-requisite for entry to the Music and Communities Programme in Year III. The course is designed to give an overview of the Music and Communities Profession and the skills (academic and practical) required to excel in the professional field. The course is delivered through a series of lectures and practical workshops designed to engage students in a variety of learning and teaching styles, peer learning and reflective practice. 

MU2523: ANALYSING MUSIC

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Students will develop a critical awareness of form and structure in music both aurally and by means of studying various approaches to musical analysis which will draw on a range of analytical methods and musical genres. The analysis of musical scores will be related to music as experienced aurally in performance.

MU2525: COMPOSITION 2

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course will go into more detail on some of the ideas put forward in Introduction to Contemporary Composition (a year one course), but not exclusively. It (and its sister course Composition 1) will introduce compositional skills that are of importance to contemporary composers. These will include such styles/techniques as: total serialism, hexachordal rotation, additive rhythmic processes and neo-tonality. Students will learn these techniques and assimilate them quickly, being assessed on two pieces of short work over the half-session. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will be factored into the assessment process.

MU2526: PERFORMANCE 4

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Instrumental/vocal study: students work on a one-to-one basis (10 x 1 hour lessons) with a specialist instrumental/vocal instructor and participate in workshops and master classes where appropriate. Students can elect to split their studies between two instruments and/or voice.

Ensemble: requires attendance at least one ensemble managed by the Music Department.

As part of this course students are required to attend concerts from the Music Department Concert Series. 

 

MU2527: INTRODUCTION TO ETHNOMUSICOLOGY

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

The course provides students with fundamental tools with which to conduct ethnomusicological fieldwork and analysis. These include a historical grounding in the subject, an introduction to field research, fieldwork methods including audio and video recording, fieldnotes, transcription and analysis, ethical considerations, and case studies of ethnomusicologists. Much of the course consists of seminars and workshops, which allow students to understand and engage with ethnomusicological concepts and theory before putting these into practice in peer-group contexts and then fieldwork. The course includes a strong practical element and fieldwork visits are made to musical events in the local community.

MU3015: COMPOSITION 3

30 credits

Level 3

Both Sessions

This course will build on knowledge and techiques studied and assimilated in earlier composition modules in order to create substantial, original new creations. Students will be required to assimilate new techniques and work them into their own emerging musical language for the assessment procedures. Students will be required to regularly critique existing works using these techniques and this will form part of the formative assessments.​

MU301B: UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITIES 1: IDENTIFYING COMMUNITIES

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course introduces music students to the idea of community, to key theoretical concepts used in describing and analysing communities and to methods of finding out about communities, including observation, interviews, creative engagement, community profiling and use of data.  It provides opportunities to think about the role of the arts in creating and sustaining communities, and develops skills in devising and delivering appropriate musical inputs in community settings and ways of evaluating impact on individuals, groups and communities. 

MU3023: HARMONIC PRACTICE IN THE LATE 18TH AND EARLY 19TH CENTURIES

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course builds upon the theory, harmony and analysis courses at levels 1 and 2. It provides an opportunity for students to develop a knowledge of harmony in order to enhance their skillset for further musicological study, and to inform their work as composers or performers. Students will explore a range of genres, such as the piano sonata, string quartet and lied. Analytical work is intended to aid an understanding of harmonic progressions. Students produce weekly harmony assignments which may include analytical exercises, harmony exercises and pastiche composition. There may also be opportunities to explore improvisation in eighteenth-century style.

MU3024: PERFORMANCE 5

30 credits

Level 3

Both Sessions

This course develops individual instrumental/vocal and also ensemble skills.  Students work on one-to-one basis (20 x 1 hour lessons) with a specialist instrumental / vocal tutor on their principal study. Alongside instrumental and vocal lessons students are required to join one of the department's many ensembles working in weekly rehearsals towards high quality public performances. The course is assessed by a 20 minute recital, a tutor report and a performance essay. 

Students must have achieved a CGS award of B3 or higher in year 2 in order to be able to progress to this course in year 3.

MU3050: MUSIC AND THE BRAIN

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is designed to enable students to understand and critically evaluate the factors involved in music perception and music performance from a neuroscientific perspective. 

MU3082: YEAR 3 COMPOSER OPTION

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This ten week course will focus on the work ONE selected composer in the Western art music tradition. It is intended to provide a space in the curriculum where students can have time to consider the work of the selected composer in significant depth and breadth. The selected composer will vary from year to year depending on expertise of the staff member teaching the course. Key musical works will be explored and the approach taken will vary in relation to the repertoire that is studied. Courses will mix aspects of music history, theory, analysis and aesthetics.

MU3094: PRACTICAL MUSICIANSHIP SKILLS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Practical Musicianship is a fully interactive course designed to develop students' musicianship skills whilst examining the pedagogy and resources required to transfer musicianship skills to participants in a diverse range of settings regardless of starting ability. Participatory music making, socio-cultural learning and experience of working in groups will be explored in this course.

MU309A: COMPOSING AND COMMUNITIES

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Composition will consist of one or more discreet projects centred around a genre (eg piano work, piece for percussion ensemble) and/or taking inspiration from a particular body of work (eg Schoenberg and his legacy, impressionism). Students compose one or more pieces to make up a folio of compositions. The exact content varies from year to year according to the composers contributing to the course, and the opportunities for workshops involving visiting composers and performers. One of the projects will have direct relevance to a community setting of the student's choice.

MU30M3: EUROPEAN ART MUSIC 1945-2000

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course introduces many of the key developments in European art music since 1945. Beginning from the challenging situation facing composers immediately after the war, we study the emergence of the serial generation of composers in the 1940s and 50s, the importance of the annual summer festival at Darmstadt, the work of Xenakis, Ligeti, Penderecki and Berio which offered alternatives to serialism; the spectral composition which developed in France in the 1970s and 80s, the new German music of Lachenmann and Rihm, the work of independent composers, and key compositional developments in the United Kingdom.

MU351A: UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITIES 2: WORKING IN COMMUNITIES

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is designed to enable musicians to contribute effectively in community settings by ensuring that they understand the various organisational, legal and procedural requirements of the context.  Students will be encouraged to compare a range of different organisational structures and roles in community settings and to develop skills in collaboration and partnership working, including understanding the value base and standards in use by key professions working in communities and the resultant challenges for multidisciplinary work.  Students will reflect on their own experience in communities as part of their analysis of theory and practice of community work.

MU3521: BECOMING AN ACTIVIST PROFESSIONAL

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

MU3521, MU4020 and MU401C are three closely related courses that sit at the core of the Music and Communities Programme, and the vocational experience that the programme strives to provide.These courses bring together the academic and practical aspects of designing, implementing and delivering a major community based project. 

MU3522: AESTHETICS OF MUSIC

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course explores music from a philosophical viewpoint. What is music? How does it relate to the other arts? Is music purely an aural phenomenon? Can we speak of good and bad music? Can we speak of musical progress? To what extent is music merely a product of wider societal forces? These and other questions will be considered in relation to the writings and ideas of a number of key philosophical writers.

MU3523: THEORY AND PRACTICE OF EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course will help students develop a critical awareness of the history and practice of experimental music in the 1950s to 1980s, particularly focusing on the experimental music in North America and Continental Europe. What is experimental music? What historical and aesthetica significance does experimental music in the 50s onward on a diverse range of today's music making (classical and popular music)? By conducting a wide-ranging survey of music from Cage, Feldman, Ashley, Young, Conrad and Reich, happenings by Fluxus, electronic and minimal music, the course encourages students to survey and explore various experimental ideas for their compositional project.

MU3524: MUSIC EDUCATION STUDIES 1

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course will introduce students to learning and teaching in music education contexts.  Through reflection and practical engagement, including school-based experience, students will begin to develop a range of skills essential for teaching in the secondary school.

MU3527: GERMAN ART SONG

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Art song is one of the most widespread and significant forms of chamber music, and German-language composers have been some of the most influential contributors to this genre. This course will investigate the development of the German art song from the late classical period into the early twentieth century. Issues covered may include the development of the song cycle, the changing roles of voice and piano, orchestral songs, aesthetic and literary currents, developments in tonal and post-tonal musical language, influences from and on other musical cultures, and performance practice.

MU3528: TANGO MUSIC

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Tango music has undergone huge changes, particularly over the past 50 years or so with composer/performers such as Astor Piazzolla bringing the music of the tango out of milonga halls and into concert halls. The course will cover social, historical and analytical aspects of the music and students will create and perform their own tango music, following an immersion in all aspects of the music.

MU35A1: CONDUCTING

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

MU35A1 is a practice led course that is designed to give participants an academic and practical understanding of the skills required as a conductor when lead an ensemble from rehearsal to performance. Topics covered in the course include; history of conducting, understanding the role of the conductor in amateur and professional settings, rehearsal planning, score preparation and conducting technique. All sessions are either based around structured discussion or practical activities. 

MU4052: SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLISH KEYBOARD MUSIC

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

English seventeenth-century keyboard music will be studied from a number of perspectives. Students are introduced to manuscript sources of the music, the editorial principles underlying several approaches to modern editions of the repertoire, and the relation between composer, scribe and performer. The traditional notion of the period in the mid-century being a 'transition' between the music of the so-called virginalist school and that of Purcell and his contemporaries will be challenged by examining whether the repertoire should be regarded as functional or autonomous. Pieces by representative composers will be introduced in relation to genre distinctions, and especially instrumental designation. Elements of performance practice, such as the interpretation of ornament signs and early fingering, will be covered through practical sessions.

MU4528: THE ENGLISH MUSICAL RENAISSANCE (FROM PARRY TO BRITTEN)

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course will chart the emergence of a new 'national' style in English music and the birth of the first music we can arguably call 'English' since Purcell. Students should come away from the course with a fundamental understanding of this heady period, and its importance in national musical development and cultural preception.

 

 

MU4006: RENAISSANCE COUNTERPOINT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course is intended both for those interested in Renaissance music and for composition students who wish to explore the many possibilities of musical invention within a very controlled compositional environment. To acquire the basic tools of Renaissance composition, students progress through counterpoint exercises in two and three voices. Through more advanced exercises in motivic placement, canon, invertible counterpoint, and the fundamentals of improvised counterpoint, students learn to structure a complete composition, culminating in a motet for three voices. In addition, works are studied through analysis of compositions.

MU4011: COMPOSING WITH SOUND

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Students will be expected to listen to, analyse and critique a prescribed list of electroacoustic compositions as well as demonstrating how this informs their own practice in one to one composition tutorials. Bi-weekly composition seminars will allow students to discuss their own work within the context of that of pioneers and established composers in a variety of genres drawn from electroacoustic music and sound art.

MU401C: PLACEMENT 3

30 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

MU3521, MU4020 and MU401C are three closely related courses that sit at the core of the Music and Communities Programme, and to the vocational experience the programme strives to provide.  These courses bring together both the academic and practical aspects of designing, implementing and delivering a major community based project. MU3521 is based on Judith Sachs writing on innovative professional development, which supports the writing of a major project proposal. This proposal is then negotiated and delivered in full in MU401C. 

MU401E: PERFORMANCE PRACTICE: APPLIED RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course aims to develop knowledge of music as a performing art form and to consider the ramifications of applied musical knowledge in performance practice in contemporary and historical contexts.

MU4020: DISSERTATION IN MUSIC AND COMMUNITIES

30 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

MU3521, MU4020 and MU401C are three closely related courses that sit at the core of the Music and Communities Programme, and to the vocational experience the programme strives to provide.  These courses bring together both the academic and practical aspects of designing, implementing and delivering a major community based project. MU3521 is based on Judith Sachs writing on innovative professional development, which supports the writing of a major project proposal. This proposal is then negotiated and delivered in full in MU401C. 

MU4049: DISSERTATION IN MUSIC

30 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

This course will entail research work which will contribute to musicological understanding (at undergraduate level). Students will research a topic of their own choice (subject to approval), demonstrating knowledge and understanding of their chosen subject matter in the form of a 10,000 word dissertation. 

MU4080: COMPOSITION PORTFOLIO

30 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

The aim of this course is to allow promising student composers the opportunity to develop their own 'voice' by giving them a degree of creative freedom in what they produce. By the end of the course students are able to compose in a variety of genres, conveying a sense of structure and form in their music as well as working independently. Assessment is via a portfolio of compositions. Lasting c.20 minutes in performance.

MU4081: PERFORMANCE RECITAL

30 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

MU4081 is structured to develop students individual instrumental/vocal skills to an advanced level.The Music Department boasts a high quality visiting tutor staff who will provide access to 20 free, 1 hour, one-to-one lessons on their principal study. Students will work towards a public 25 - 30 minute recital. Students are encouraged to seek out performance opportunities throughout the course as well as participating in masterclasses when applicable. 


MU4082: YEAR 4 COMPOSER OPTION

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This ten week course will focus on the work ONE selected composer in the Western art music tradition. It is intended to provide a space in the curriculum where students can have time to consider the work of the selected composer in significant depth and breadth. The selected composer will vary from year to year depending on expertise of the staff member teaching the course. Key musical works will be explored and the approach taken will vary in relation to the repertoire that is studied. Courses will mix aspects of music history, theory, analysis and aesthetics.

MU4098: APPLIED MUSICIANSHIP SKILLS

15 credits

Level 4

Both Sessions

The course will consist of two distinct elements: a) Practical Musicianship Skills and b) Ensemble Development. Students will be required to set up an ensemble (or continue working with one that they have already set up) and work with this group throughout the session. They will create work for this group using their composition and improvisation skills in preparation for the improvisation element of the final recital. The ensembles will be entirely student-led with only minimal intervention from academic staff and students will be required to undertake a variety of peer-assessment techniques during this part of the course.

MU4099: UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITIES 3: CONTRIBUTING TO COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course is designed to enable students to plan their own projects with communities, including understanding and effectively engaging with the values and priorities of community stakeholders.  Building on understandings from the ‘Working in communities’ course it develops understanding of collaborative goal setting and planning processes in community contexts and of the various policy and theoretical frameworks in which community development activity can be undertaken and evaluated.  Evaluation processes are discussed in terms of both creativity and community development aims.

MU4502: CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN OPERA

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

In the mid-twentieth century, it seemed that opera was a dying art form, surviving at best on the back of a canon of great historical works. While its future prospects looked bleak, the composition of over 150 new operas in the period between 1978 and 2003 marked a perhaps unexpected renaissance of the genre. Students on this course will study the factors which led to the resurgence of operatic/music theatre composition in Europe. A range of key operatic/music theatre works by composers from France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom will be considered from a number of points of view.

MU4504: ELECTROACOUSTIC COMPOSITION: THE VOICE AND THE MACHINE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Seminar-based classes will provide an historical overview of electroacoustic music that utilises the voice as sound object. The theme of each seminar, focused each week around a different aspect of the voice and technology, will provide the theoretical, philosophical, and aesthetic basis for practical applications, focusing on particular cultural and aesthetic issues that concern the mediated voice in recorded sound. Running concurrently, practical, studio-based classes will provide a technical overview of software applications and of sound recording techniques, particularly looking at the way the voice is rendered, represented or transposed through the electronic medium.

MU4507: SOUND DESIGN FOR FILM AND NEW MEDIA

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course introduces theoretical and practical aspects of sound design in a wide range of media, inclunding film, TV series, games and interactive platforms. Along with an in-depth analysis of sound design in films and TV series, such as Mirror by Tarkovsky, Gravity by Cuarón, and Weekend by Godard among others, students will acquire practical tools, technologies, and methodologies to create sound design for film and fixed media. Students are also introduced to Unity and FMOD, a game sound design framework used by AAA games, and encourage them to explore possibilites of sound design with new technologies.

MU4527: GERMAN ART SONG

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Art song is one of the most widespread and significant forms of chamber music, and German-language composers have been some of the most influential contributors to this genre. This course will investigate the development of the German art song from the late classical period into the early twentieth century. Issues covered may include the development of the song cycle, the changing roles of voice and piano, orchestral songs, aesthetic and literary currents, developments in tonal and post-tonal musical language, influences from and on other musical cultures, and performance practice.

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